‘He knows what the situation is’

Xavi Hernandez said Sergino Dest “knows what the situation is like” as Barcelona put pressure on the United States defender to leave the club before the transfer window closes.

Barca need to raise funds and cut wage bills to sign €55m for the summer, Jules Kounde and Dest is one of the players they have marked as expendable.

“To be honest, we wanted to sign Cesar Azpilicueta [from Chelsea] and we couldn’t, so that’s the situation,” Xavi said in a press conference on Saturday when asked about the right-back’s position.

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“But we have players who can provide cover there. ronald [Araujo] Did well there last weekend, Sergi Roberto can play there and [Kounde] even in an emergency.”

When asked if Dest remains an option, Xavi added: “He knows how the situation is.”

ESPN reported on Friday that Xavi spoke to Dest earlier in the week and told him to look for a new club as he was no longer part of his plans for the season.

Dest, 21, prefers to stay at the Camp Nou but is under intense pressure to agree to a transfer to help Barca register Kounde and strengthen himself in other positions as well, if possible.

Barca had told Dest earlier in the summer that they wanted him to stay because he can also mark at left-back, but their financial situation has forced them to change their stance.

However, just over a week before the transfer window closes, potential candidates for Dest have narrowed as Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid invest in right-backs already this summer.

Chelsea’s previous interest also appears to have cooled but Manchester United, who are coached by Dest’s former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, could offer the USA international a route out of Barca.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay are two other players Barca could switch in the coming days to make room within their spending limit.

Xavi said both will be available for Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad but didn’t shut the door as they left as Chelsea are negotiating for Aubameyang and Juventus are keen on Memphis.

“The transfer window is open until [Sept. 1] and we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Xavi added. “At the moment [Aubameyang] is our player and I’m counting on him. For me he’s an important player but we’ll see what happens.

“Not at the moment either [Aubameyang nor Memphis] has left. If there’s an offer for any of them, we’ll see how the squad is and decide what to do.”

Sources have told ESPN that talks between Chelsea and Barca over Aubameyang are progressing. However, despite their interest in Marcos Alonso, Barca don’t want the left-back involved in the deal and will only ask for cash.

It’s expected that a middle ground could be struck at around €25m while Barca would switch for Alonso in a separate deal once they are sure they can register him.

That’s far from certain, however, as Kounde is expected to miss a second game this season as Barca are yet to register him in LaLiga.

“We’re waiting,” Xavi said of Kounde’s availability this weekend. “Everything is on standby. There are no news. We have to move the players forward [to be able to register him].”

https://www.espn.com/soccer/barcelona-espbarcelona/story/4725368/barcelonas-xavi-pushing-for-sergino-dests-departure-he-knows-what-the-situation-is ‘He knows what the situation is’

Emma Bowman

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